Hairdressing and barbering learners were so moved by the plight of seriously ill toddler Bradley Lowery that they decided to help, writes Paul Offord.

The stresses and strains of training to cut hair were put into perspective during a fundraising event for a little boy whose life has been blighted by cancer. (College students and staff at the fundraising event pictured above)

Level three hairdressing and barbering students at East Durham College organise a promotional evening every year as part of their studies.

This year, all 23 are supporting two-year-old Bradley Lowery, from Blackhall, County Durham, who was diagnosed 10 months ago with a rare form of cancer, called neuroblastoma.

It started in his adrenal glands, tests have showed, with tumours developing in his chest, lymph nodes, bones and bone marrow.

He has just completed his fifth course of chemotherapy and is on a life support machine to help him breath.

He’s been given a 50/50 chance of survival — but even if he pulls through, there’s then an 80 per cent chance of a relapse.

Inset: Bradley Lowery with mum Gemma, dad Carl and brother Kieran, aged 11

So his mum, 30-year-old Gemma, is hoping to raise £500,000 for a trip to America to fight any relapse.

And Bradley’s cause — already at the £50,000-mark — was boosted with £264 thanks to the students, who did fundraising haircuts, cut-throat-shaves, manicures and a raffle.

Gemma said: “I would like to thank everyone from the college for their fundraising efforts.

“Without good people like them, we wouldn’t get anywhere near our fundraising target.

“We have been told that Bradley has a long way to go and it’s going to be a rough ride, but my baby is a fighter, so the least I can do is fight it with him no matter how much I’m hurting.”

She added: “If he doesn’t need the treatment for whatever reason, then it will be used for someone else who does, because there will be other children who benefit.”

Barbering lecturer Alison Scattergood said: “When we asked the students to name a cause close to their heart to give the money to — they all opted to support Bradley, as he lives close to the college and a lot of them know the family.

“We have continued with our fundraising this week by holding a sponsored ‘wear red for Bradley day’. Staff and students all got involved and it was nice because we normally have to wear black tunics in the salon.”

The college is organising another fundraising event for Bradley, on December 8, where staff and students will dress little girls as princesses.

Visit to donate to Bradley’s fund, or follow it
on Twitter via the @Bradleysfight